Novel Large Area High Resolution Neutron Detector for the Spallation Neutron Source

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Neutron scattering is a powerful technique that is critically important for materials science and structural biology applications. The knowledge gained from past developments has resulted in far-reaching advances in engineering, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, to name a few. New facilities for neutron generation at much higher flux, such as the SNS at Oak Ridge, TN, will greatly enhance the capabilities of neutron scattering, with benefits that extend to many fields and include, for example, development of improved drug therapies and materials that are stronger, longer-lasting, and more impact-resistant. In order to fully realize this enhanced potential, however, higher neutron rates ... continued below

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Lacy, Jeffrey L May 22, 2009.

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Description

Neutron scattering is a powerful technique that is critically important for materials science and structural biology applications. The knowledge gained from past developments has resulted in far-reaching advances in engineering, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, to name a few. New facilities for neutron generation at much higher flux, such as the SNS at Oak Ridge, TN, will greatly enhance the capabilities of neutron scattering, with benefits that extend to many fields and include, for example, development of improved drug therapies and materials that are stronger, longer-lasting, and more impact-resistant. In order to fully realize this enhanced potential, however, higher neutron rates must be met with improved detection capabilities, particularly higher count rate capability in large size detectors, while maintaining practicality. We have developed a neutron detector with the technical and economic advantages to accomplish this goal. This new detector has a large sensitive area, offers 3D spatial resolution, high sensitivity and high count rate capability, and it is economical and practical to produce. The proposed detector technology is based on B-10 thin film conversion of neutrons in long straw-like gas detectors. A stack of many such detectors, each 1 meter in length, and 4 mm in diameter, has a stopping power that exceeds that of He-3 gas, contained at practical pressures within an area detector. With simple electronic readout methods, straw detector arrays can provide spatial resolution of 4 mm FWHM or better, and since an array detector of such form consists of several thousand individual elements per square meter, count rates in a 1 m^2 detector can reach 2?10^7 cps. Moreover, each individual event can be timetagged with a time resolution of less than 0.1 ?sec, allowing accurate identification of neutron energy by time of flight. Considering basic elemental cost, this novel neutron imaging detector can be commercially produced economically, probably at a small fraction of the cost of He-3 detectors. In addition to neutron scattering science, the fully developed base technology can be used as a rugged, low-cost neutron detector in area monitoring and surveying. Radiation monitors are used in a number of other settings for occupational and environmental radiation safety. Such a detector can also be used in environmental monitoring and remote nuclear power plant monitoring. For example, the Department of Energy could use it to characterize nuclear waste dumps, coordinate clean-up efforts, and assess the radioactive contaminants in the air and water. Radiation monitors can be used to monitor the age and component breakdown of nuclear warheads and to distinguish between weapons and reactor grade plutonium. The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) uses radiation monitors for treaty verification, remote monitoring, and enforcing the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. As part of treaty verification, monitors can be used to certify the contents of containers during inspections. They could be used for portal monitoring to secure border checkpoints, sea ports, air cargo centers, public parks, sporting venues, and key government buildings. Currently, only 2% of all sea cargo shipped is inspected for radiation sources. In addition, merely the presence of radiation is detected and nothing is known about the radioactive source until further testing. The utilization of radiation monitors with neutron sensitivity and capability of operation in hostile port environments would increase the capacity and effectiveness of the radioactive scanning processes.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER/84251-1 Final Report
  • Grant Number: FG02-05ER84251
  • DOI: 10.2172/952948 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 952948
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc931793

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • May 22, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 13, 2016, 12:11 p.m.

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Lacy, Jeffrey L. Novel Large Area High Resolution Neutron Detector for the Spallation Neutron Source, report, May 22, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931793/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.